High Up released their first album, You Are Here, on February 23, although they sound like they’ve been around for ages. Their careful blend of soul and Southern rock is familiar, while the genuine frustration and heartache of lead singer Christine Fink’s powerful Joplin-esque voice reminds us that populism is perennial. But High Up isn’t just riding a wave—they’re leading a charge with brazen lyrics and naked emotion.
“Your System Failed You” is a song that, metaphorically, prances into the saloon and orders a shot of whisky with a wink and a smile. Just before the first chorus arrives, Fink throws a sucker punch—“if we’re all equal...well, you’re more equal than me!” An angry mob proceeds to turn the place upside down. By the end of this union-organizer’s rally cry, the fatcat who was winning the poker game goes crashing through a window.
Fink developed her own style by first mimicking Led Zeppelin and Sam Cooke songs at karaoke bars. After spending her twenties working as a journalist and running a local theater, the legendary cover performances shifted to more than a weekend outlet. With encouragement and help from her sister, noted singer-songwriter Orenda Fink (Azure Ray), the two began composing songs that are both autobiographical and universally relatable.
Bipolar disorder is eloquently addressed in the song “Blue Moon,” which expresses the pain of the victim as well as their supporters.
It’s a personal subject for Fink.
“Most of us have to go through the same stuff and I’m lucky to be in a place where I can talk about it,” she explains.
Fink now embarks on her first tour with her sister and a band of qualified professionals by her side, including Josh Soto, Todd Fink (The Faint), and Matt Focht (Bright Eyes, Head of Femur). In a season where empathy feels out to sea, the stars have finally aligned to bring this mature voice into the light.